House renovations

I hope lockdown is treating you well. I love watching TV programmes like Your Home Made Perfect and Kirstie and Phil’s Love It or List it. We’re definitely in our forever home as it has plenty of space and is in the perfect location (close to my parents and sister etc.) but we haven’t done much to the house since our big move in 9 years ago.

The house was a wreck when we bought it and it took six months to make it liveable – with a very tiny budget. Back then, the flooring we chose was the cheapest laminate we could find and although it looked good then it doesn’t any more. My kids have played lots of games of swimming pool parties with their barbies and dolls over the last few months which has meant that there has been lots of spilt water on the flooring so I do need to think about replacing the downstairs flooring sooner rather than later.

I’ve been doing my research and Luvanto luxury vinyl flooring looks fantastic and is 100% waterproof so would it ideal in my kitchen and hall. I’m hoping to knock through from my kitchen to my living room to make one big open plan space so it have it running through out would make it seem even bigger. It seems so super easy to install and can be walked on straight away – I definitely need it to as having 3 kids and pets in the house, it’s always busy and hectic.

There are so many different colour and style options when it comes to Luvanto but at the min the grey sparkle Luvanto flooring is my favourite. It would look so nice with pale grey walls (or white walls). It’s anti-slip too, perfect for toddlers unsteady on their feet!

 

Virtual author visit for World Book Day

Are you looking to arrange a virtual author visit for World Book Day? I am really excited that I will be able to inspire children throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland this year. I also believe what I offer is unique and great value for money.

A bit about me

I am a Sunday Times Best Selling Author of over 20 books for children. Most of my books have been non-fiction – from celebrity biographies on the likes of Lionel Messi, Justin Bieber and Robert Pattinson, to movie and superhero guides. I’ve also written a picture book, inspirational book for young rugby players, scripts and poems.

The aim of my talks is to inspire every child to become a reader, dream big dreams and ignore bullies.

What I offer

For £150 you will receive:

6 video lessons you can use with every class in your school (whether this is in school or remotely). Each class could watch 2 – 3 of the talks/sessions if you wished. You can choose when you would like to show these (e.g. you don’t need to just use them the week of World Book Day)

These include:

  • How I became an author talk (this will inspire and excite the children)
  • ‘The Best World Book Week Ever’ Picture book interactive reading session
  • The art of writing a Writing a Picture book session. (How I wrote ‘The Best World Book Week Ever’ and we write a picture book together)
  • Pollyanne – the incredible donkey story – A very funny retelling of one of my most popular books. This will probably be the children’s favourite session
  • Writing Pollyanne session – As well as talking about visiting the donkey sanctuary and speaking to John who rescued Pollyanne we discuss the importance of research. The children are set a writing challenge that ties in to the book (coming up with their own amazing animal story and designing the cover/writing the blurb.)
  • Writing biographies and being a journalist session – This talk is best for older children. They find out the dos and don’ts of interviewing, going to press conferences etc. They learn lots of interesting facts about their favourite celebrities so it can hook in reluctant readers.
  • Writing a book as a class session – In this session we plan a ‘Celebrity and Animal A-Z book together. I discuss how best to research facts, how to choose what to include, layout etc.

World Book Day sessions

Access to all of the sessions I will be running live on World Book Day. These will include the above but also live poetry sessions, Q & A sessions etc. I will have a full timetable available so you can pick and choose which you would be interested in.

Live sessions with your school/classes

I am happy to do live or recorded Q&A sessions with your school/classes. This can be a great opportunity for children to ask me any questions. They can also show the work they have produced and I am happy to give feedback (or choose winners if you want). I will also be available to respond to posts on twitter.

This is all included in the £150 price.

If you are interested or would like to find out more, please email me, saraholiverauthor@yahoo.co.uk

The Best World Book Week Ever Sarah Oliver at the BBC world book dayheader-books

Socially distanced Author visits – In school

Are you looking to invite an author into your school for a visit? There is no reason why not as long as safety procedures are put in place.

I have tweaked what I offer so that every class still gets to experience the excitement of my visit and the assembly talks are now pre-recorded so the children can find out more about me, before I actually visit.

I am happy to make any changes you wish, but here are my suggestions:

Before

Juniors – ‘How I became an author talk‘ pre-recorded video children can watch in class before my visit.

Foundation/KS1 – ‘The Best World Book Week Ever picture book’, pre-recorded video children can watch in class and interact with.

Included in my price is one copy of Pollyanne and one copy of The Best World Book Week Ever or Lionel Messi A-Z for your school library.

On the day itself

I recommend my talks take place in the school hall or outside on the playground (or on the field). It can be more exciting to have it outside (weather permitting). If you did plan on having me outside and the weather was terrible, you could postpone my visit (free of charge).

I would use hand sanitizer between sessions and I am happy to bring my own lunch and eat in my car – I would just need access to the staff toilets during the day. I can wear a face shield during the sessions/moving around school if you would like me to (or a face mask).

For the sessions themselves, as class bubbles can’t mix, you would need to choose which classes you wanted to take part in the live workshops. The sessions can range in length from 30mins – 1 hour.  For the classes who aren’t chosen, they would still be able to experience my workshops by watching pre-recorded videos.

E.g. in a 3 form entry school, I might have a 45 min Writing Biographies workshop with Y5 class 1. Y5 class 2 and Y5 class 3 would watch the Writing Biographies pre-recorded video and do the activity as a class. Alternatively, you could choose for all 3 classes to watch the pre-recorded video and just have 15 mins each with me answering questions and reviewing the work they have produced.

The sessions I usually offer include:

Pollyanne the amazing donkey – we act out the story and the children write their own blurb/design a front cover for their own amazing animal books. This is a huge hit with Foundation/KS1 and Y3/4 classes. Normally the actors dress up in costumes that I provide. I will order new costumes specifically for your school and that you can keep – my price includes one set (donkey headband/tail, flat cap, carrot, bowtie and a story sheet). If you wanted more than one set of costumes there would be an extra charge of £20 per set.

Writing biographies – I talk about being a journalist and writing biographies, we hold our own press conference and write a non-fiction book as a class. This is for Y5 and Y6 classes.

Christmas story – We talk about our favourite Christmas stories, create convincing characters before planning and writing our story as a class. This is suitable for Y1 – Y6 children.

Follow-up

If any children wanted signed copies of my books I could drop off signed copies that could be kept boxed up for three days before being distributed. If you didn’t want to allow books to be bought that would be completely fine.

 

 

A wonderful year – A review of the academic year 2017/2018

Wow. Wow. Wow. I’m rarely lost for words but this year has been so incredible. I’ve had the honour of visiting twenty schools and worked with over 5,000 children. Every school is special… but some are extra special!

The teachers I have met have been so enthusiastic about reading and writing. I’ve loved sharing my story, running writing workshops and giving pupils the confidence to believe they can be anything they want to be in the future. I’ve experienced the most fantastic singing, press conferences, Q&A sessions and I’ve been asked the most interesting questions. The writing that has been produced has been out-of-this-world.

Hand on Heart

I was asked in November if I would become the patron of Hand on Heart, a charity that places defibrillators in schools. I was so shocked to hear the statistics concerning sudden cardiac arrests in young people – 12 young people die in the UK every week. I am promoting the charity and cause as much as I can, EVERY school should have a defibrillator.

Here is an interview I did with the Liverpool Echo/Widnes World >

Messi A-Z

I’ve been busy writing my first football biography – Messi A-Z. It’s been so much fun finding about the Barcelona star. The book will be published in the Autumn, can’t wait for you to read it!

The Best World Book Week Ever

The highlight of the year for me was working on a very special writing project with the children of Adswood Primary School (Stockport), St Mary’s Catholic Primary School (Swindon) and Cambridge Road Primary School (Ellesmere Port). Together we wrote a picture book and it was illustrated by the fantastic Scott Wells.

It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the children and we had a great time, acting out our book at the end of each day. The ideas generated were incredible and the finished story was even better than I could have ever imagined. It was published at the end of January and appeared in bookshops from the 1st February.

It has been popular in the schools I’ve visited and we’ve raised £100 from book sales so far which we’ve donated to Hand on Heart to help fund a defibrillator.

Holding a book signing in each of the three schools was great fun and the look of joy on the children’s faces was priceless. They loved signing their autographs and it will be something they will treasure forever.

Next year… The day the books disappeared (working title)

I will again be writing a picture book in the Autumn term that will be written with children from selected schools. The book will explore what the world would be like without books and will have reading superheroes save the day.

I will spend one day at each school working with 1 – 2 classes. It’s an intensive day and at the end, the children can perform the book in a whole school assembly. Once the book is published in February, I will return for a joint book signing.

If you would like to be involved please get in touch ASAP. I won’t be working with many schools on this project. If chosen, you can pick which classes/groups of children you would like me to work with, but I recommend Y5 and Y6. My email address is saraholiverauthor@yahoo.co.uk

Here are some quotes from my co-authors at St Mary’s Primary School:

Larissa Hall – “The experience I had with Sarah Oliver was amazing. She was so inspiring to us. When we did the play it was fun too.”

Daniel Cunningham – “I enjoyed the part when I designed the treasure map. I also liked it when we performed the book in front of the school and seeing the book published.”

Elliot Fahy – “I enjoyed it with Sarah Oliver and my favourite part was when we acted the whole story out. This experience inspires me a bit to become an author and help children write stories.”

Lewis Bhola – “I enjoyed the banana in the book you had to find on each page and the bookworm. I really enjoyed writing my signature for the first time and roleplaying the monkey called Danny.”

Grace McKeown – “I enjoyed the experience and I want to be known as an author. I really liked how we use our autograph like a real author.”

The Best World Book Week Ever StMarysschool1

Author visits to primary schools in Cheshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and beyond

2018 has been a very busy year for me so far. I’ve been privileged to visit sixteen schools in Swinton, Stockport, Ellesmere Port, West Kirby, Birkenhead, Preston, Wigan, Widnes, Runcorn and Chorley. We’ve had fun dressing up and acting out my Pollyanne book with the help of some very talented actors and actresses hee-hawing and pretending to be opera singers! The children have been full of story ideas and have designed some wonderful front covers for their own amazing animal stories.

https://twitter.com/heygarthyear1/status/969269713011445762

The Y5 and Y6 classes have been so enthusiastic, we’ve enjoyed writing books together as a class and holding press conferences. The standard of writing has been excellent with it being tough to pick the winners in each school. Every school I’ve visited has been enthusiastic about reading for pleasure and I’m so glad that I’ve been able to encourage the children to try and read something new – whether it’s non-fiction, newspapers, comics or joke books.

My first picture book ‘The Best World Book Week Ever’ has been so popular and I’m over the moon (shout to my co-authors, Y5 and Y6 children from Adswood, Cambridge Road and St Mary’s primary schools). Meeting my illustrator Scott in person after months of speaking through email was great, we’re already chatting about what our next book together will be. We did two joint author visits – one at his sons’ school and the other at the school he attended when he was five. It was nice to share our favourite parts of the story and our favourite illustrations.

I’ve received some lovely feedback from teachers and children at the schools I’ve visited. I love doing author talks, they’re my favourite thing about being an author. It feels incredible to meet children who already have one or more of my books at home.

Happy reading,

Lots of love

Sarah

x

 

The Best World Book Week Ever! Get your copy now

I’m happy to announce that The Best World Book Week Ever is out (RRP £6.99) so you can get your copy now from bookshops, Amazon or direct from me (I’m happy to sign your copy and write a special message if you email saraholiverauthor@yahoo.co.uk). We’ve had three great book signings so far and I’ve shared the book with several schools during my author visits. It’s been very well received.

The Best World Book Week Ever

If you’re looking for a book to read to your child or class in the run up to World Book Day, this book is perfect. It encourages children to try reading new types of books, newspapers and comics, gets them excited about books and World Book Day in general. It also gives you plenty of ideas for what you could during World Book Week/Day. If you do buy a copy of the book and would like some worksheets relating to the book, please send me an email saraholiverauthor@yahoo.co.uk.

Here are just some World Book Day activity ideas you could do relating to the book:

  • Design your own front cover for the Jungle Times
  • Act out the story for the rest of the school. Perfect activity for Y5 or Y6
  • Design your own Super Monkey magazine
  • Create a book themed treasure hunt with map and chocolate coins.
  • Hold a class book quiz. The children could have fun writing the questions.
  • Write your very own fairy tale.
  • Hold your own bedtime story afternoon and read the stories the children have written (while wearing PJs and drinking hot choc).

I’m looking forward to hearing what you think of the story, please send me a tweet or email.

Lots of love

Sarah

StMarysschool1

A busy few weeks

I hope you’re looking forward to Christmas as much as I am!

I’m so excited about ‘The Best World Book Week’ coming out in January, as are my co-authors, the children of St Mary’s, Adswood and Cambridge Road Primary Schools. We’ve had great fun writing together and acting out the story. It’s going to be lovely doing book signings together.

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Last week, I was invited to spend a morning at Mattel Play! in Liverpool with my girls. We had so much fun. Lizzy loved the Thomas the Tank area the best, driving the train and pretending to be a farmer. Lily isn’t walking yet but she still managed to get around the shop in the Fireman Sam area, filling her basket with goodies. I was really pleased that I managed to get Lizzy to climb inside the fire engine as she normally shies away from fire engines at summer fairs.

The Bob the Builder area was ideal for Lizzy because she loves building towers and knocking them down. Because it was mid-week it wasn’t busy either, so Lily and the other little ones could crawl away to their heart’s delight. We can’t wait to go again, Lizzy in particular loved every minute and it was so nice to have a day out with my girls in Liverpool.

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Has your school got a defibrillator?

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the UK Heart Safe Awards in Manchester. I met some lovely people and even got to present an award. I felt so honoured to be invited, I love being the patron of the Hand on Heart charity which is saving lives by placing defibrillators in schools and community buildings, training adults how to use a defibrillator and teaching children how to perform basic life support.

 

If your school doesn’t have a defibrillator please, please, please get in touch with Hand on Heart. Do it today.  It’s really easy, just send an email to enquiries@handonheart.org and they can help get a defibrillator in your school. Don’t wait until you need one or it could be too late.

EVERY school should have a defibrillator and Hand on Heart are on a mission to make every school in the UK heart safe. If someone has a cardiac arrest, a defibrillator can increase survival rates by 74%. If you’re a parent, ask your child’s school if they have a defibrillator and if they don’t encourage them to get in touch with Hand on Heart. My oldest daughter’s nursery has one and I’m so pleased that it’s there, it’s keeping my daughter and her friends safe.

Inspirational performers

A wonderful choir from Park Road Primary School in Sale performed last night and they were incredible. After their performance Christine from Hand on Heart revealed why they were there. They had been the last school in the Trafford borough to be given a free defibrillator by Hand on Heart. They were so touched that they decided to fundraise so that another school could receive a free defibrillator. The school who received the defibrillator decided to do the same so their generosity has created a ripple effect. How amazing is that! You can hear them one song here >

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It was so moving

The UK Heart Safe award winners had all helped make a difference and saved countless lives. One woman had saved her mum’s life when she had a cardiac arrest at work, another man had saved the life of a man at the gym he worked at, because they had a defibrillator there, ready to use. Companies won awards for helping to fund defibrillators and one man had managed to fundraise enough money to fund 92 defibrillators. He really has made a huge difference and it all started when he learnt that a man had died in his local Morrisons store and there hadn’t been a defibrillator within 10 miles. He fundraised for one defibrillator, then two and the rest is history.

It was an incredible night and I really hope you can help make the UK heart safe. Hand on Heart are currently trying to get funding from the Aviva Community Fund for four defibrillators. Please vote for us by clicking here >

Much love,

Sarah

xxx

PS this pic is of me and Louise, who I had the pleasure of sitting next to last night. She is a Hand on Heart volunteer and a real life saver. Hand on Heart installed a defibrillator at her workplace and the very next day she used it to save a man’s life. She hadn’t received training on how to use it, but she’s proof that you don’t need training to use a defib, as it talks to you and tells you exactly what to do.

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Could your school co-author a book with me?

After spending the last few years focusing on non-fiction and biographies, I’m pleased to report that my first picture book is due out at the end of January. The BEST World Book Week Ever is a story about a cheeky monkey called Danny who loves to read all kinds of books, comics, newspapers, you name it, he reads it! His jungle class are celebrating World Book Week in lots of amazing ways and as readers, we’re invited along for the ride.
During November, I’m planning on visiting a select number of schools and running workshops, we’ll work on the story, decide who Danny’s classmates should be and think about the pictures we want my fantastic illustrator to draw. The workshops will mainly suit Y5 and Y6 classes, but we’d start the day with a whole school assembly, and finish with the Y5 and Y6 children performing the story we’ve written together for the rest of the school (using my vast array of costumes and props). 
It’s a very unique project and I’m super excited about it. The book will be for sale everywhere, in bookshops in the UK, and across the world, and has the potential to do very well. If your school are involved, you’d be credited in the first few pages of the book, and I could pop over and we could do a signing together, either at the school, at a local bookshop or library (I’m happy to arrange nearer the time).
If you’re interested, please drop me an email and we can discuss dates and prices. My email address is saraholiverauthor@yahoo.co.uk.

My first picture book

I am very, very excited to announce my first picture book is being published. I’m bursting with excitement in fact. I’m working with a fantastic illustrator called Scott, and hopefully I’ll be able to share a picture of the main character Danny next week. (I’ve named him after my brother Dan)…

‘The Best World Book Week Ever’ is out in January. It tells the tale of Danny, a cheeky monkey who loves to read all kinds of books, and is celebrating World Book Week with the rest of his jungle class. This story is perfect to read in the run up to your own World Book Week, or during the week itself. Danny’s story will encourage reluctant readers to try new books, and get everyone in your class/school excited about books and reading. It’s not available to pre-order yet, but when it is, you’ll be the first to know.

In other news, I’ve just got back from a lovely family holiday in Disneyland Paris. It was out-of-this-world incredible. I don’t know who enjoyed it more, me, my hubby or my girls!

I’ve been asked to be the patron of the charity Hand on Heart, what a great honour. Hand on Heart, help raise awareness and train teachers to save children’s lives with defibrillators in schools. If your school doesn’t have a defibrillator, get in touch with Hand on Heart and lets get one fitted ASAP.

I hope you’re excited by my news,

Sarah

xxx

 

 

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